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tv   Viewpoint With Eliot Spitzer  Current  January 7, 2013 9:00pm-10:00pm PST

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he debates together. he's going to have a terrific show ahead for you tonight and going forward. so check that out right now. >> john: tonight on "viewpoint"," the g.o.p. demonizes our own chuck hagel for the sin of being right about the iraq war. president obama's nominee for c.i.a. endorses drone strikes that kill innocent people so his nomination should breeze right through. and tomorrow is the anniversary of gabby giffords of being shot and tomorrow is the anniversary of nothing being done about gabby give ford's gifford's being shot. we have all that ahead. >> john: good evening i'm john fugelsang, and this is "viewpoint." president obama announced nominations for two key members of his national security team. perhaps the only surprise is
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that republicans seem to find one of them acceptable. of course it's the guy that signs up on drone strikes. the candidates are chuck hagel for secretary of defense and white house counterterrorism adviser john brennan for the director of c.i.a. as the president put t they did not seem too travel. >> obama: chuck hagel's leadership would be historic. he would be the first person of enlisted rank to serve as secretary of defense. one of the few secretaries who have been wounded in war and the first vietnam veteran to lead the department. in john brennan the men and women of the c.i.a. will have the leadership of one of our nation's most skilled not to mention the smarts and strength that he claims comes from growing newspaper new jersey. >> john: that seemed like a nice chris christie shout out for
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john brennan. chuck hagel, according to our republican friends include opposition to the iraq war search and wanting diplomacy to threats in iran. he mentioned the jewish lobby and hints, i'm quoting a jewish problem. here are how three gap leaders g.o.p. leaders describe the nominee. >> he's wrong on the national issues that face our country today. >> this is an in your face for those who support israel. >> he has consistently opposed sanctions over and over again. >> john: always great to hear lindsey graham talk about taking it in the face. and the neo-con echo chamber is
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adding to the clamor, as in this ad. >> president obama secretary of state chuck hagel is not a responsible option. >> john: and really when was bill kristol really wrong about anything. and another stumble on the way to the pentagon was his lgbt rights. he rejected james hormel to be ambassador to luxembourg with frankly offensive comments. hagel told a local newspaper i'm quoting ambassadorial posts are sensitive. they're representing america. they're representing our lifestyles values and standards, and i think it's an inhibiting factor to be openly, aggressively gay like mr. hormel to do a better job. this was the late 90s and toxic homophobia was very common common, hagel has apologized for those remarks and said as
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secretary of defense he will support open service and lgbt military families. now the log cabin republicans the lgbt gay advocacy group did not seem too impressed. they put out an ad chuck hagel hagel's apology, too little, too late. james hormel, the man hagel rejected and slandered had a very different take. quote, senator hagel stated in his remarks that he was willing to support open military service and lgbt military families. if that is a commitment to treat lgbt services members and families like everybody else, i would support his nomination. starting with hagel i'm joined by joel rubin director of policy and government affairs of the now shares fund and a congressional aide that worked closely with senator hagel's staff. thank you we're glad to have. >> you thank you for having me. >> john: were you surprised by
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this nomination? >> i was not surprised by this nomination. primarily because we heard of it over the last several weeks. senator haig settle hagel is a leader of independent mind he has a deep background in foreign policy and matters. he has two purple hearts. this was a gutsy nomination by the president to put him forward. this is where the policies align very well with the president and that's what the american people asked for in the election in november. >> john: how much of this criticism has to do with mr. hagel and how much is directed at president obama. >> right now there is a battle within the republican party for the direction of their foreign policy. there are realists and chuck hagel comes from that camp. and then there are the neo-conservatives, lindsey graham start from south carolina, bill kristol more of that camp.
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chuck hagel opposed the surge in iraq quite vocally in 2007 and for that he has been seen as a bit an outlier in foreign policy republican foreign policy circles. we're going to see this play out in the next several weeks. >> john: let's talk about the specific controversy. what is chuck hagel's specific record when it comes to israel. >> he has been a long and historyic supporter. he has voted for sanctions against iran and advocateed for diplomat i canic approaches. this mirrors what the american people want. he has consistently supported aide to israel's military and he has great credibility amongst israeli leadership and even the
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israeli government said last night they don't want to get in the middle of this fight. this is something for the american people to decide, but his record with israel, and we'll see during these hearings will come out and it will be very strong and seen as a positive one. >> john: here is a man who has been to war and is being questioned by men who never wore the uniform in. >> this is a man who bled for his country. he had been in vietnam. he served with distinct. he received two purple hearts. he ran the uso supporting our troops and their families overseas. he understands what it's like to serve in the military, and that creates wisdom. we need that kind of wisdom at the top of the pentagon. these are tough times. we have many security challenges with the war in afghan afghanistan, and we have a fiscal crisis here at home. chuck hagel gets how to deal
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with these issues, and he's the kind of leader that we need at this critical juncture. >> john: you worked with him. what kind of guy is he? >> i worked with his staff when i worked in the senate. i was a democratic aide, and we worked across body lines on veteran bills bills to support military healthcare, they were straight. they were honest. when they said what they wanted to do, one could count on that, and we were very effective together. since then he has been involved with my organization and a strong voice on international issues he's an independent thinker and gives straight talk. that's what we really need in leadership in our country. >> john: please stay here, and we'll welcome joe williams, sam seder, thank you gentlemen great to have you. let me put it out to you. what do you think sam and joe do you think the g.o.p. option opposition to hagel the same as
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against obama he's soft on iran? >> it's partly that. there is also maybe perhaps some resentment towards hagel for being a little bit of a natural genuine maverick. i'm a he not saying that coincidentally, but this is the republican party trying to set upup the parameters of what the oh obama foreign policy is going to be in the years to come. they're concerned that the obama administration is going to start to take a more stringent line with israel, and frankly to israel's benefit in my estimation. so i think this is as much about precluding where they see the obama administration going as it is about this nomination. >> john: and that he wants to change the pentagon on an constitutional level. joe, your thoughts? >> well, my thoughts, yes
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that's exactly right. he's going to change the pentagon as an institution because as a former senator he knows the ins and outs of how the budget process works knows how to get the numbers down. he and obama are kindred spirits. and they both kind of have the same world-view. they both are willing to be contrary to their own party loyalties. they're both willing to do the tough decisions to make decisions that won't necessarily be popular with their own people and get it done for the good of the country. so i think hagel brings credibility to that position, not only as somebody who has been a long-time public servant but someone who understands military culture and who has actually been there. that credibility is going to go a long way. i think from the white house perspective this could be a bit of muscle flexing for the second-term president not to repeat the mistakes of the first
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term. >> john: i would love to ask you your thoughts on the log cabin republicans. i love gays for the g.o.p. it's like vegetarian for meat. could it be more critical? mr. hormel himself, he never got to be ambassador mr. hormel himself has forgiveen hagel. >> it's in their mission statement to a degree, but you have something here that is almost an incidental controversy. president obama would not have nominated chuck hagel if he didn't do some note counting in the senate to get past the initial rounds and get his person in office. but secondly, if the person who has taken the offense forgives the person who has offended him what else is there to talk about. we have hagel has full defense
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of gays in the military, from that perspective. it seems that there is nothing more to talk about. >> john: do you think senator hagel's views on iran and israel are out of the mainstream? >> the point of lindsay graham's arguments is that he should point chuck hagel's views track with the president. the president supports a strong relationship with israel has a deep respect for israeli needs an provides aid to israel for its defense and engages diplomacy to resolve the conflict between israel and the palestinians. with iran, we need a resolution that can be counted on and sustainable. that's going to require a negotiated process. that's what the international
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community wants. there are no advocates in israel getting traction. even the israeli government themselves say they don't want military action against iran. the policy the president is pursuing ratified by the american people, and showing how he's endorsing this in the person of chuck hagel this is where we need to go, and this is the mainstream policy. >> john: before we go to break do we expect a fight with susan rice. he must have known that this would have come with chuck hagel. >> yes, joe mentioned this. this will drive a wedge in the republican party. there is not only a realist perspective in the republican party in terms of foreign policy and a neo-con one but there is a growing isolationist in the republican party and this fracture is about republican coalition. in that regard i think there is an opportunity for a fight. at the end of the day this
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appeals to sort of i think in many respects president obama's favorite constituency, which is the beltway media. this idea bipartisanship and this notion of having a republican sort of daddy figure in some respects filling this role is very appeal to go part of the beltway media. so i think this is--to the extent that this is going to be a fight i think it's one that he's looking forward to. >> john: if hagel is the daddy figure then the nominee is the cheney destined to take them over. ♪ ♪ the sirius xm satellite radio in the 2013 ram 1500. engineered to move heaven and earth. guts. glory. ram. the new ram 1500.
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i want the people who watch our show, to be able to come away armed with the facts, and the arguments to feel confident in their positions. i want them to have the data and i want them to have the passion. but it's also about telling them, you're put on this planet for something& more. i want this show to have an impact beyond just informing. an impact that gets people to
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take action themselves. as a human being, that's really important. this is not just a spectator sport. >> john: if the upcoming showdown of the chuck hagel nomination is the main event, then the underwhelming under car is john brennan as director of the c.i.a. brennan, a chief counter counterterrorism official is expected to easeily coast to the nomination. this despite to his role in the architect administration's every broadening, ever unpopular drone warfare program. he's also the final filter on the kill list. he's the man who brings targets directly to president obama for an official sign off. maybe the partnership is not dead at all as long as it doesn't come with warning from
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high above with aircraft and minor civilian casualties. with us again is sam seder, joel rubin, and political reporter joe williams. i want to thank all of you for sticking around. john brennan has that kind of "i have killed a man for less than this" look. i'll begin with you joe he is considered such a natural to cruise to an easy appointment? >> this is a policy generally accepted in washington, the drone policy, but there is significant opposition and concerns being raised time and again by congress as well about it. the hearings that brennan has will be very interesting because it will be the first time in public public viewfull public view we'll have more verification about it. brennan is a long-time c.i.a.
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officer. what the president has done is in essence put two grunts at the working level of these departments be it chuck hagel as an enlisted man and john brennan. they'll be able to move the agencies in the direction that the president wants to go. the drone program is one part of the broader part of counterterrorism that brennan will be responsible for. >> john: taking nothing away from brennan's extensive service and service to his country it seems that a whole bunch of american haters are created. where is the debate about the drone program. besides liberal blogs is anyone in d.c. having a debate about the merits of it? >> well, no, and that's troubling on a couple of levels. when john brennan's name first came up in president obama's first term, he was roundly panned for helping advise the
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bush white house about enhanceed he rejects that. he said he was not in favor of that, nonetheless he had to withdraw his nomination due to an outcry about that. the fact that there is not a lot of people talking about drone warfare indicates we've settled into a new normal where people have come to expect this. even the lawmakers are not putting much heat on it, and it gives us an opportunity to see how far down that road we've gone. is it like taking your shoes off at the airport, having someone listening to your phone calls is it something that we accept in the name of security, the problem it's created to solve is creating more of a problem and more concerns that we should be worried about. theit will be interesting to hear where the senate has come down on it, the left, which is very muted, and the public view about
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a program that people pretty much accepted with a shrug because it comes from obama and not bush. >> john: does the fact that he has killed lots of terrorists cancel out that he may have tortured some. >> yes, that some how he has cleansed himself by instituting a kill list and engaging in this semi covert, less than transparent warfare, some how cleanses him of his involvement in the torture regime under bush. it's horrible enough. but you know, the notion that even--and you see it reported all the time. he's only killing terrorists or insurgents. and we know now that the definition of militants, the definition of insure insurgents is basically anyone who has been
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hit by one of these drone strikes. it's stunning the lack of outcry. i would like to think that there is going to be about this in the senate. i have absolutely no doubt that there won't be any real tough questions. particularly, we won't hear anything about his role in the bush administration'sing toture program. it's rep reprehensible. >> you may be for president president obama, and then put quotation marks for the nobel peace prize. >> while he inherited a certain program he had the opportunity to put the brakes on it, and he has enhanced it, codified it and brought it in with a legal reregime and that does not make it better. due process does not necessarily have to be judicial according to
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the justice department, so this is president bush. president problematic problem. >> i submit a lot of low key discourse about this is because it's not happening present in front of us but its happening over there. we accept the fact that americans always kill the bad guys. even president president obama with the quoteed peace prize he's doing this to keep america safe. we're willing to suspend a lot of disbelief if we believe that's what is happening. and there is a lot of reporting and facts to indicate not so much. but because we're willing to buy into this, we're willing to accept it and let a lot of this fly, i think the hearings will tend to bring out how much we're willing to let go and how far down the road we've gotten, and whether or not there is time to pull back from that.
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>> john: in light of the two nominations it willen tougher for the g.o.p. or the corporate media to call this president a liberal. joe williams directorjoel williams, and the great sam seder. thank you for your time tonight. sam will hang around and come back later on in the show. after the newtown alright, in 15 minutes we're going to do the young turks. i think the number one thing that viewers like about the young turks is that we're honest. they know that i'm not bs'ing them with some hidden agenda, actually supporting one party or the other. when the democrats are wrong, they know that i'm going to be the first one to call them out. they can question whether i'm right, but i think that the audience gets that this guy, to the best of his ability, is trying to look out for us.
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